Improve the guestroom air quality with PTAC filters

For the 20 years that Steve Torberson, founder/CEO, RZ Industries, was in real estate, he had to deal with a tremendous amount of dust and was only protected by paper or rubber masks.

So, about 12 years ago, he developed a better mask with premium replaceable filters that were used for power sports and agriculture, and expanded into other industries. When that business started to take off, he began attending expos and conferences and stayed in a lot of hotels. “I would wake up and my head would be a little plugged up, and I would have a scratchy throat and itchy eyes,” he said.

After doing some research, he discovered that 35% of the air in a hotel room comes from the outside. “The hotels can’t control that; that is just the way the PTAC is designed,” said Torberson. “Also, it is really difficult because they can’t control the cleaning supplies… So, between cleaning supplies, outdoor air and what has gotten caught up in these PTAC units, [it is hard to keep the air clean].”

After looking at some of the PTAC units, he experimented with added filters. He tested his first prototype when he was on the road in a hotel in Boise, ID. “The first one that I made was just a piece of activated filter that I cut out and double-stick-taped to a PTAC unit in my room, which had just been cleaned and had a strong smell of pine cleaning products,” he said. “Within 10 minutes, you could hardly smell anything at all.”

After that, Torberson started experimenting with the prototype and the RZ Airflow was born. It is attached to the top vents of the PTAC, and purifies up to 99.97% of the viruses, allergens and odors found inside the room, as well as the air pulled in through the unit from outside, according to the company.

Torberson said that the Airflow fits on any PTAC unit. He also noted that other versions of the product can handle wall air conditioners and split units. The company recommends changing the filters every six months.

What makes the Airflow especially useful for hotels, according to Toberson, is that hotels don’t need to replace their existing PTAC systems—they can just add the filters at a much lower cost. “While many hotels have enhanced their air filtration systems or integrated standalone purifying products into rooms, the best performing options are often a high-cost product and not realistic for large quantities,” he said

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